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Divers Take Plunge Off Mostar Bridge In Centuries-Old Tradition

Spectators watch as competitors take the dive off Mostar's Old Bridge on July 29.

Some 40 local and international competitors have participated in the centuries-old tradition of taking a 27-meter dive from Mostar's Old Bridge into the cold Neretva River.

The Ottoman-era Old Bridge, completed in 1566 or 1567, stood until Bosnian Croat artillery destroyed it during the Bosnian War in 1993.

It was rebuilt in 2004 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Several thousand people in the Bosnian-Herzegovina city watched as competitors took the plunge on July 29 in what is believed to be the 452nd edition of the competition.

Mostar native Lorens Listo captured the title for the second year in a row and the 12th in the past 19 years.

"Every new victory is dearer to me every year!" he said.

The winner is picked by a panel of judges.

In the ordinary jump category, the most points go to the jump creating the smallest possible splash.

In the eagle dive category, top points go to the biggest, loudest splash.

A plunge takes about three seconds and divers reach a speed of around 80 kilometers an hour during the fall.

"In this town, it's an obligation for every boy my age to dive off the Stari Most," said Emil Petrovic, the youngest diver at age 16.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters